It’s a Friday at the Vatican canteen, shortly after 12 noon. This is the regular lunch break for the workers from the Vatican workshop and power plant, as well as the blacksmiths, the boys from the hydraulic laboratory, and the storekeepers of the pharmacy. The week is coming to an end, and they joke, relax, and think about the two-day break that is just around the corner. But suddenly, they realize that this is a Friday like no other. While they are filling up their trays, who should walk into the canteen but Pope Francis!
Also Read: Tips for Meeting the Pope
The Lunch Special
The Holy Pontiff calmly takes a tray, utensils, and paper napkins and leans on the kitchen counter. He opts for fusilli pasta and a piece of cod with au gratin vegetables. He adds a slice of pizza, and chooses a bottle of water to drink.
Everyone looks on in amazement at the incredible scene. A frisson of excitement goes through the crowd; someone calls home to tell a loved one about the thrilling news, while someone else whips out a mobile phone to take photos. Meanwhile, Pope Francis sits next to some workers. The table is spacious—you can just sit down and chat freely. The Pope spends about 40 minutes with his seatmates, discussing work, economics, football, and the interesting origins of his family.
Also Read: The Bergoglio Family Kitchen
“It was a surprise, just a bolt from the blue!” canteen chef Franco Paini tells Vatican Radio right after the unforgettable lunch. “Who expected it? The Pope came to eat with us… We were all taken aback, but it was one of the most fulfilling things that could happen to you!” He adds, “we introduced ourselves, he asked us how we were, asked us how we work, and he also complimented us.” Franco concludes, “The Pope was very well, because he was surrounded by his family.”